The US warship, reportedly the guided-missile cruiser the USS Monterey, was loitering around in the Sea of Oman today when it got a warning from the Iranian Navy to withdraw, cautioning that the ship had entered the area of an ongoing military exercise.
Iranian Admiral Habibollah Sayyari accused the US ship of trying to spy on the live-fire exercise, but did confirm that the US ship left quickly after receiving the warning that it had strayed into the missile range of the exercise. They also reported warning a US jet away from the area.
US Navy officials confirmed that Iran had announced a “closure” in the area because of a live-fire exercise, which is common practice, but offered no explanation for why the US warship strayed into the area, beyond saying they don’t consider announcements like that to be “orders.”
While the incident is ultimately a minor one, it is likely to be presented as another “dispute” following the brief detention of US Navy sailors whose ships strayed into Iranian waters earlier this month, another incident for which the Pentagon has yet to offer a plausible explanation.